Courtney Seleste Casanas

Courtney Seleste Casanas

BELTON — Clusters of people gathered inside and outside the Bell County Justice Complex courthouse building on Thursday afternoon, as family and friends awaited the jury’s decision on the sentence to be imposed on a home day care operator convicted on Wednesday of criminal negligent homicide.

Finally the jury returned at 3:50 p.m.

Courtney Seleste Casanas, 28, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, said Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza.

Casanas was booked back into the Bell County Jail around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, about an hour after the verdict, according to jail records. She had been out of jail since November, 2017, after posting a $100,000 bond, according to Bell County Chief Deputy Chuck Cox, previously.

Casansas was found guilty Wednesday in the death of Jaxson Partridge, 1, whom she left sleeping in his car seat in a room with other children on May 12, 2017. Jaxson strangled on the strap of the car seat and died almost two months later.

After more than four hours of deliberation, the jury of seven woman and five men returned a verdict of guilty and found that Casanas used a deadly weapon: the car seat.

The trial started with jury selection Monday in the 264th Judicial District Court of Judge Paul LePak.

Emily Hilley-Sierzchula is reporter for the Killeen Daily Herald. Reach her at

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